Expanding the size of its footprint in Asia as it continues to seek bases outside its continental Europe home, TUI Group has announced the opening of a new tour operating division and office in Kuala Lumpur, the capital and largest city of Malaysia. TUI International Holidays Malaysia has secured a license from the Malaysian government to focus on growing its southeast Asian market.
In a statement, the group said increasing numbers of guests from southeast Asia are traveling more frequently and differently than in the past. Frank Rosenberger, TUI’s chief development officer for new markets, said: “We are developing holiday offers which are attractive to Asian travelers in both neighboring countries such as Sri Lanka and Thailand, as well as the long-haul routes from Asia … The start of the new division in Kuala Lumpur is an important step towards addressing even more Asian customers in the future.”
Rosenberger is responsible for the TUI 2022 strategy, with which aims to reach one million additional customers in new markets by 2022.
An integrated travel provider of travel products which has its own airline, hotels, cruise ships and, with the acquisition last September of Musement, its own online platform for activities, tours, museums, shows and art events, TUI plans on reaching one million additional customers in new markets by 2022.
Sebastian Ebel, chief executive hotels & resorts, cruises, destination experiences, said that “the short and medium-haul destinations in the region are becoming increasingly attractive to guests from Southeast Asia.”
Slow Growth Curve for Outbound: Long-haul overseas business for TUI, which is Europe’s largest tour operator has experienced flat growth in recent years. The United States, for instance, is expected to receive no more than a one to two percent annual growth in arrivals from Germany from 2019 through 2022, according to the latest forecast by the U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office.
One reason for the outlook is that Germany’s overall population has been in a slow-growth-to-no-growth mode for several years and this is not expected to change soon. Germany has the lowest birth rate among Europe’s major countries. TUI made the decision several years ago to increase its presence in other world regions, including China, selling both regional and long-haul product through the world.
Earlier this month, TUI and Ctrip, China’s largest online travel provider, announced a strategic partnership in which Ctrip’s 200 million monthly users will have direct access to the tours and activities offered by TUI’s new subsidiary Musement.
“China, our investments in IT and further digitization and the growth field of tours and activities are important pillars of TUI’s growth strategy for further internationalization and the development of new markets,” said TUI CEO Fritz Joussen.